To improvise means to make music up on the spot and can be intimidating for beginner musician and seasoned professional alike. While all the great composers were known for their abilities as skilled improvisers, the tradition of classical music really doesn’t give us the space to explore it today.
Musicians don’t always come from musical families. My uncle Leif, on my mother’s side, was a trained baritone, guitarist, and music teacher, so I knew the music gene was in there somewhere. But my parents were not trained musicians, though they liked listening to Elvis, John Denver, and the 3 Tenors, and my mother did enjoy singing and playing the autoharp.
This fact didn’t hinder my dad, when they met with a new piano teacher who wanted to know more about the parents.
During my mid teens, I remember performing Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor for the grade 9 piano category in Guelph Kiwanis Music Festival. There was a good handful of students in this class. I didn’t have a lot of experience performing in competition, so as with many young performers, my nerves got the best of me.